BitcoinX: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. So, tell us who you are and what your position is at LAToken?
LAToken: I am Valentin Preobrazhenskiy, CEO and founder of LAToken. Four years ago, armed with solid experience in trading equities ($200 million portfolio) and building a back office for hedge funds, I started the home equity marketplace Zalogo, where borrowers could get approved loan offers against their property with the lowest possible rates. In 2016 we facilitated more than 12,000 mortgage offers and closed more than 1,000 deals for 35 banks and investors. Several months ago, we decided to implement blockchain into our platform and add new asset classes to our marketplace, optimizing not only the process of reselling loans, but also the outdated processes of investing and borrowing money. That’s how we built LAToken, the first tokenized assets exchange, that allows its clients to sell and buy equities and real assets using cryptocurrency that’s build, not only that – LAToken is one of the few tokens available built on an existing and profitable business.
BitcoinX: Tell us – what is LAToken? What is the main idea behind the project and why did you decide to start it?
LAToken: LAToken is a blockchain platform that tokenizes and makes tradeable assets ranging from equity and debt to real estate and works of art. Our platform unlocks the value of assets, via fractional ownership. If the asset owners need to borrow money, they can quickly get cash by issuing LATokens and selling fractional shares at LAT Exchange, while keeping the actual asset for their use instead of borrowing money and paying interest or renting. And investors get access to wide diversification options across the major asset classes. They also get a chance to buy real assets using cryptocurrency with more transparency and at lower costs. Finally, we eliminate the information asymmetry and fraud: the blockchain technology itself makes trustworthy data available to all the parties of the deal prior to the transaction and thus provides greater certainty of its worthiness, reducing the risks.
BitcoinX: Blockchain technology is expected to alter the landscape and/or create efficiencies in almost every industry. In what ways does your technology address these?
LAToken: LAToken can completely change the way people see value in their assets and invest, so traditional financial services will definitely be disrupted by our technology. And selling fractions of assets via blockchain is a tremendous milestone for previously illiquid markets like real estate, art etc., as LAToken gives a unique opportunity for investors of all sizes to buy fractions and not the entire asset, entering those markets without spending fortunes. I’ll just give you an example: from the begining of the century real estate’s average annual return was around 9%, which is pretty impresive. But you couldn’t enter the market with just couple of thousands of dollars. We change that, giving individual investors a chance to buy tokens backed by those assets and profit from the market grows.
BitcoinX: When and why did you first decide to do an ICO?
LAToken: This April I realized, that we need tens of millions of dollars to build a highly liquid tokenized assets market. As our platform basically aims to expand crypto economy to the multitrillion dollar markets, it is logical to fund it with a public token sale, attracting asset owners and investors, who in conjunction can speed up our growth to a universal marketplace.
BitcoinX: Tell us about what preparation was required to get the project to this point?
LAToken: Back in April we already had a profitable business – a home equity marketplace. And the perspectives for the company were bright: it had proved its efficiency, and the market was huge: in the United States alone it exceeded $400 billion. But I saw a bigger fish to fry right next to our niche – a marketplace for a wide range of tokenized assets. Why limit ourselves with just loans reselling, if we could tokenize and sell almost anything, I thought. We implemented blockchain into our platform and started adding new asset classes. That’s how we built the first tokenized assets exchange, where equities and real assets are going to be traded for cryptocurrencies. We already launched the test trades of tokenized Apple and Amazon shares, and partnered with MyGold, a gold and silver manufacturing company and mint based in New Zealand, to tokenize and list gold at LAT Exchange. Within weeks we’ll add even more asset classes.
BitcoinX: What makes this project especially exciting for ICO participants? What makes them want to join?
LAToken: LAToken intends to unlock the value of currently illiquid assets worth $517 trillion. We estimate, that the turnover of asset-backed tokens may exceed $1 trillion by 2025, and LAT may be the next cryptocurrency to emerge in popularity driven by its usability on the platform. It is also well-positioned to become one of the most stable and popular cryptocurrencies for the real economy.
BitcoinX: Where are you in the actual development phase of the project?
LAToken: As I mentioned, LAToken platform is operational, allowing to tokenize assets, list them for sale and trade on the LAT exchange. Tokenized Apple and Amazon shares are already tradable at LAT Exchange. And trading of tokens backed by commodities, real estate and works of art will be launched within weeks. To develop our platform further, we start a Public token sale on August 22. There will be four rounds with the proceeds used for tokenization and trading development of the key asset classes: Round 1 – Equity, Round 2 – Real estate, Round 3 – Debt and commodities, Round 4 – Illiquid assets (e.g. works of art). Round 1 is limited to 25 000 000 LATs offered at 0.001 Ether. The price for the following rounds will be higher.
BitcoinX: After a successful ICO, what is the timeline for coming to market?
LAToken: We will launch the tokenized trades in 2018. After that we will launch an app constructor, that allows to build applications on LAT platform tailored specific asset classes, legal requirements and investors underwriting procedures. The Apps would be sold and purchased at LAT App store. By 2020 LAT Exchange aims to become the leading platform for trading tokenized assets.
BitcoinX: Are you focused in any specific geographic areas?
LAToken: At this time we are available for non-US investors. We already have partners tokenizing assets in New Zealand, France, England etc, including a Gold producer, a castle, famous paintings and even an entire company. However, we are currently available for non-US investors, as the turnover of the tokens would be restricted in the US jurisdiction. LAToken is working with regulatory authorities and our legal team DLA Piper to expand presence.